Sunday, 1 June 2014

Overview of a lovely week . . .

I thought I would start the new month with a catch-up blog post.  We have had such a busy week here as our eldest daughter Tam was staying.  First of all, a busy Fleamarket on Sunday, then up early again to go to Malvern Fleamarket, which is SO huge it took us 7 hours to walk round it, and even then we abandoned the last hall (which is more up-market, they have electricity (!) and some beautiful things on offer).  We spent quite a bit but got some real bargains, and Tam did well, buying two vintage tops by Biba and Laura Ashley (both Edwardian style blouses with lacey trims), a lovely art Nouveau enamelled belt buckle, a little 1970s butterfly and dried flowers display under a glass dome, and a beautifully-embroidered 1970s picture of a peacock and various floral motifs.  As you can no doubt tell, she is her mother's daughter to the core!

I forgot my camera, so we used Tam's but I won't get those photos until next week, as she has gone home today and has a conference in London early in the week, so a busy time for her.

I took a couple of photos of my stuff when we got back though.

This is a beautiful Victorian hand-pieced throw, made from various velvets, in the Baby's Block pattern, which also doubles as stars.  It is a little distressed, especially the brown pieces in the centre, but that is part of its history.    It was £15 so I didn't feel too guilty.  I felt that I HAD to bring it home with me.

This is one corner of a very skillfully worked embroidered tablecloth.  Scabious, ferns, foxgloves and leaves - beautiful.  I love embroidered pieces and wish I was as skilful as this lady had been.  The colours are more intense in real life.

This little piece is an original Art Nouveau/Arts and Crafts piece of Calligraphy, and again, as I love to see something beautifully made, it now graces the Hall wall.

Another piece of Arts and Crafts craftsmanship.  This is dated 1907, and "signed" inside the door.  Every bit of the pattern is beautifully chiselled out, punched out, scored or carved.  We saw it at the Sunday Fleamarket on a stall belonging to some friends of ours, and I just fell in love with it on first sight.  We paid the going rate . . .

Mr M Protetheroe of Swansea, you are surely in Heaven now, but take a bow . . .

This is for our New House.  Whenever that happens . . .

As I said, we have had a busy week.  Yesterday we went back to Herefordshire, and just over the border into Gloucestershire, to view three houses.  The top photo of this blog was taken in the Forest of Dean as we pulled off the road for a cup of tea and contemplation of the map, on route to the next house.  There were several Redstarts flying about, and returning to the same branch each time.  Fascinating to watch.  

Whilst driving to the first house, we got caught up in holiday traffic (well, behind a caravan!) and to my horror, discovered that we had left the details of the first property at home - I had picked up a sheaf of what I thought were all the house details . . . but no.  We had to phone the agent to say we'd be late, then when we got to the village near Ross-on-Wye, we couldn't find the property for sale as of course, we had no guidance instructions, so had to phone the agent again.  It looked like it had once been a small Herefordshire longhouse and dated back to the 1700s (Grade II listed) and overlooked a sleepy  river valley with Willows along the stream-bank..  The big kitchen had once been the milking parlour, but looking at the photo of it, I am sure it was the shippon end of a longhouse, as it was several feet lower.  We were told the main part of the farmhouse was the upper part.  I loved the old (neglected) plantings in the yard, which included a huge twisted Wisteria, in full bloom, and old roses in a tangle nearby.  It had problems though - a neighbour's ancient falling-down barn was right in front of one end, and in the back garden, power cables ran across (and the poles were either side of the hedge).  There would have been a lot of work to do inside the house too, to upgrade it.

The next property was perfect.  I can't think of it without a sad smile (THAT one won't hang around for us I'm sure).  I won't tempt fate by saying any more about it, but if we sold tomorrow . . .

We cut cross-country, near Hoarwithy, to reach the final property.  I just HAD to stop and take photos when I came across this pond bedecked with Flag Irises along the way.  I could just imagine dairy Shorthorn cows keeping cool in here in the height of summer a hundred years ago . . .

Ones a bit like some of these in fact.  This was the scene just by the little cottage we viewed last.  Sadly it was too little, and had no outside room for my husband and his bits of wood - a garden shed was NOT workshop-sized as mentioned in the details, and there seemed to be some confusion over the remains of an old cider barn which we assumed was also on the property but must have originally formed part of the cottage.  It was pleasant.  The setting was stunning.  Just stunning.  You could go back a thousand years or more and still see the Saxon and Medieval homesteads in their same setting, just with a later house.  Lots of cider apple orchards and mistletoe.

We drove across a little common to get there.  Magical.  Like stepping back in time.  

We are back to square one with the interested viewer as she never came back with her husband.  She sounded so keen too.  My dearly beloved can't find the piece of paper we wrote her phone number down on either, so I guess that is not meant to be.   Ah well, one year . . .


  1. I so enjoy coming along on these walks and rides around the lush beautiful green area you live in. So different from where I live even though I live in a green desert.

    cheers, parsnip

  2. How beautiful it all looks and those flag irises light up the green.

    Your next home is out there somewhere.......Fingers crossed that your buyer finds you very soon!

  3. DW - the moment I came around the corner and saw those Irises, I shouted "photo opportunity" and slammed on the brakes (not that I was going at all fast). A magical spot, and like stepping back through time. As far as I'm concerned, house no. 2 IS our next home, but it won't be unless a buyer turns up pronto. Sigh. We've been here before . . . The hardest part is that our minds our made up and we are just in limbo, waiting for the next part of our lives to unfold.

    parsnip - I am glad you enjoy the rides and walks so much. Lush and verdant it certainly is at the moment, with history around every corner.

  4. They sound enchanting the cottages you looked at Jennie, is not the English countryside at its most beautiful at the moment. AND all your buys at fleamarkets are fabulous by the look of them, well done...

  5. It is rather horrid when one gets cautiously optimistic about a property and on arriving to view finds a front yard pigsty or other disconcerting element that has been hidden with clever photography. Errrr!
    I admire your sale finds--lovely work in each case. I'm envisioning Tam's blouses as similar to the Gunne Sax patterns I was making in the 80's for the young ladies of the family--much embellished with lace, ribbons, high collars, etc.

  6. Your journey into Herefordshire was a nice trip down memory lane, I used to know it well, a beautiful county. Hopefully this summer someone nice will come and buy your house and you'll find the right one for you :-)

  7. It all looks divine. We stayed in the Forest a few years ago and loved it.
    Yes I would have been tempted by that velvet quilt too!

  8. Isn't it frustrating when folk let you think they are really very interested and then never return? Don't despair - the right person will come along.

  9. Thelma - the countryside is so beautiful right now. Exploring the little Herefordshire lanes was such a delight.

    Sharon - Keith always says not to believe half of what estate agents tell you/would have you believe, and that's probably a fair approximation! I knew when the blurb on the first cottage started waffling on about Impressionist artists, something was up with the house! When we were viewing it, I just wanted to get going in the garden - it had been so left to itself and needed a helping hand! Tam's blouses do sound quite similar to those you made. Quite Edwardian in style.

    CT - it's a lovely county. Of course, it's beautiful here too, but our hearts are elsewhere now. I shall see if I can get the Agents to add some updated garden photos for me.

    Kath - I would have loved to have had the time for a good walk in the Forest, but we were chasing our tails all day long.

    Pat - I am trying to hold the faith, but it's been quite a long while to hold it now!

    Fingers crossed that a buyer will hove into sight soon . . .